In the latest changes made by the Congress before the Chintan Shivir, former Karnataka Chief Minister and former Foreign Minister S M Krishna has been dropped as the chairman of the sub-group on foreign policy titled India and the world and instead Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has been put in his place.
Sharma was a member of the group along with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and others but because it was not proper for the foreign minister to head the group, Sharma was chosen.
But interestingly, Anand Sharma as the commerce and industry minister has lost out in the race to head the Indian delegation to Davos for the economic summit. Instead, the prime minister has handpicked Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath to head the delegation while Sharma would only be a member.
As far as Krishna is concerned, he is said to be sulking big time and has gone to Vietnam to attend a seminar even though he was expected to prepare and then present the foreign policy paper during the meeting of the sub group on January 18 and 19 in Jaipur.
He wants to be projected as the chief ministerial candidate for the Karanataka polls and also wants his loyalists to be given tickets. He was also upset at the manner in which he was dropped as minister for external affairs, and has told his loyalists that it was unfair and half-baked decision without the party getting the full details about his case.
In the meantime, the Congress has officially announced that the position papers which would be circulated at the Shivir do NOT represent the official views, but are merely base papers which have thrown up certain ideas, formulations, problems and issues on which the delegates are expected to deliberate, give their responses and solutions and which would then be drafted into a single document which would be called the Jaipur Declaration.
The Shivir would meet at 2 pm on January 18 when Congress president Sonia Gandhi would give her opening statement which would also be an indication of the thinking of the leadership on key issues and how they need to be approached.
At 3 pm, all the delegates would divide themselves into their chosen groups and hold discussions till 7 pm. The next day the delegates would reassemble and hold discussions till 1 pm at the Birla auditorium where the media centre has been set up.
At 2 pm, the chairpersons of the five sub-groups would meet Sonia and discuss the deliberations, and they would then sit together to cull out the main facts from the discussions and prepare a paper on that.
At 6.30 pm, the extended CWC would meet to discuss the paper which has been prepared and after it is approved by the CWC it would be circulated to the AICC members the next day (on January 20) at the AICC meeting, which would begin with Sonia's speech.
After a part of the discussions are over, the prime minister and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi would join in. At 4 pm, there would be the closing speech by the Congress president after the Jaipur Declaration is passed by the assembled delegates.
The three-day meeting of chosen and selected Congressmen would lay out the future course of action for the party in terms of elections; its strategies, how to take on its adversaries in both the states and the Centre, how to win back the alienated young and urban vote, how to increase its reach to various sections in terms of welfare schemes and social agenda programmes and how to win new friends and allies in order to strengthen the existing United Progressive Alliance.
The party has invited young leaders as there is a growing feeling that in the last 10 years, the youth of the country have become more aware.
There is a change in the mindset within the party leadership under the prompting of Rahul who wants to explore that, and find solutions on the missing links, and at the same time, formulate a winning response to that very obvious change.